Center for Studies of Play Therapy

Photo of young children making art

Center for Studies of Play Therapy

Welcome to the Center for Studies of Play Therapy

The Center for Studies of Play Therapy (CSPT) is housed in the Department of Counselor Education at New Jersey City University. We are proud to announce that CSPT is the very first Center of Play Therapy Education in the state of New Jersey approved by the Association for Play Therapy (APT). CSPT is passionate about promoting play therapy by providing professionals and students with training opportunities and by reaching out to communities to offer play therapy services. In addition, we are in support of licensed mental health professionals to obtain a certification of Registered Play Therapist (RPT) issued by APT. (Please see the "Classes” section below.)

For more details about play therapy, please visit the Association for Play Therapy website.


Dr. Yumiko Ogawa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at New Jersey City University. Dr. Ogawa holds a doctoral degree and master’s degree in counseling with a specialty in play therapy from University of North Texas, which has the top-ranked play therapy program in the world.

In the past decade, Dr. Ogawa has worked with children and their families in a variety of settings including a private practice, a hospital, an agency, and public schools. She was involved in disaster response work in New York, providing post 9/11 services in 2001, and in Texas, providing counseling services for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005. She also provided training to mental health professionals in Japan after Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) in the state of New Jersey and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S) and Certified Clinical Psychologist in Japan. She is a board member of the following associations; New Jersey Association for Play Therapy, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, and the Japan Play Therapy Association.


NJCU Counseling Program currently offers two graduate level play therapy courses:

  • COUN 642 Play Therapy (offered Summer I)

This course provides an overview of the history, theory, and applications of play therapy. Play materials and tools are introduced and integrated into ethical and culturally-sensitive counseling practice. A video-recorded experiential component working with children focuses on understanding the therapeutic process and developing basic play therapy skills.

  • COUN 644 Parent-Child Play Therapy (offered Spring semester; COUN 642 is a prerequisite)

This course provides a comprehensive study of filial therapy. Students develop advanced child-centered play therapy skills and learn how to work with a child’s system to facilitate relational and systemic change by conducting Child Parent Relationship Therapy with parents under supervision of the instructor. Ethical, cultural, and clinical issues in parent-child play therapy are examined.

As one of the requirements to be certified as a Registered Play Therapist, APT requires 150 clock hours of play therapy specific coursework or training. (For more detailed information on becoming RPT, please visit the APT website for the RPT & RPT-S credentials.) The aforementioned graduate-level play therapy courses at NJCU will be most likely counted toward the coursework requirements. Those two courses are aligned with the contents that APT requires. However, APT alone holds the right to accept or deny any continuing education training at its discretion.

  • Play Therapy Internship (for clinicians currently seeking RPT)

You must be employed or willing to find a site which allows you to professionally practice play therapy techniques with children or adolescents in order to be in this internship class. Hours for this internship class can be counted toward the 50 hours of concurrent play therapy specific supervision which is one of the requirements for becoming RPT.For more information on the required clinical hours for becoming RPT or School-Based Registered Play Therapist (SB-RPT), please refer the website of the Association for Play Therapy.

Events / Projects

One of the missions of CSPT is to provide play therapy education to professionals and graduate students and to promote professional growth through enriching, expanding, and challenging the knowledge, skills and practice of students. In 2012, CSPT hosted the first play therapy workshop, "Healing the Hurting Child," with Dr. Garry Landreth. In 2015, CSPT hosted the workshop "Group Play Therapy: Application at School and Community Settings" with Dr. Dee Ray. CSPT has been also co-hosting some of the conferences with New Jersey Association for Play Therapy.

CSPT is currently collaborating with the Union City Board of Education and the Jersey City Board of Education to provide school-based play therapy to students who are demonstrating social, emotional and behavioral difficulties. If your school district is interested in collaborating with CSPT, please contact Dr. Ogawa at

Another exciting project that CSPT embarked in 2018 was the play therapy project in collaboration with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND). Through this project, CSPT has been providing play therapy to undocumented and unaccompanied minors who are currently seeking asylum.  Representative Donald Payne Jr. commented on this projected on the House Floor in December 2019.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the services that CSPT provides, please contact Dr. Yumiko Ogawa at

If you have questions about how to apply for the program as a non-matriculated student, please contact Graduate Admissions at 201-200-3409 or